Israel Revokes Travel Privileges for Top PA Officials
Israel has officially imposed additional sanctions on the Palestinian Authority (PA), Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reports Tuesday.
Senior Palestinian Arab officials told the daily that Israel has decided to cancel the VIP cards allowing entry into Israel for all PA officials except PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, as backlash for Monday's official declaration of the Hamas-Fatah "unity" government. The decision prevents top-ranking Palestinian Arab officials from moving back and forth between Gaza and Ramallah.
"Israel is also reviewing stopping tax revenues from being transferred to senior [PA] officials," the official said. The amount is close to 100 million dollars per month, the official said - about 1/3 of the revenues paid to the PA total.
On Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued an official statement over the unity government, threatening more sanctions over the move and vowing not to negotiate with terrorists.
"[PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas said 'yes' to terror, not peace," Netanyahu stated, at the end of the meeting. "It is the direct continuation of Abbas's policy to refuse peace, while Israel has made courageous and painful steps for the political process and remains committed to peace."
"Abbas refused to extend the negotiating framework via the US's proposal, continues to incite against Israel, joined international agencies in a set of unilateral moves, and now has formed an alliance with the Hamas terrorist organization - which is responsible for the murder of more than a thousand innocent Israelis, and has fired thousands of rockets at Israeli towns," he continued.
In April, Israel informed the PA that it would enact several punitive measures and sanctions against it over the breach of peace talk conditions.
Netanyahu gave instructions to government ministries forbidding meetings with PA officials, and halting all civilian and economic cooperation with the PA.
In addition, Israel froze tax transfers, suspended participation with the PA in a project to develop a gas field in the sea off of the Gaza coast, and put a cap on PA deposits in Israeli banks.